New School Year – New Teacher Rules
Aug 17, 2023
On August 4, 2023, Governor Pritzker signed legislation modifying the period for probationary teachers to acquire tenure in Illinois. Public Act 103-0500 establishes new tenure and accelerated tenure timelines for teachers first employed in a district after July 1, 2023, based upon years of service and performance evaluation ratings. Under the new law, teachers with a Professional Educator License who are first employed on or after July 1, 2023, will accrue tenure pursuant to the following schedule:
|Years of Consecutive Service to Attain Tenure||Required Evaluation Ratings|
|Three Consecutive School Terms||An overall annual evaluation rating of at least “Proficient” in the second and third school terms.|
|Two Consecutive School Terms||Two overall annual evaluations of “Excellent”|
|Two Consecutive School Terms||Two overall annual evaluations of ‘Excellent” service, but only if the teacher: |
1. Previously attained contractual continued service in a different school district or program in Illinois;
2. Voluntarily departed or was honorably dismissed form the school district or program in the school term immediately prior to the teacher’s first school term in the current district;
3. Received overall evaluation ratings of “Proficient” from the prior school district or program, with both ratings occurring after the prior school district’s or program’s PERA implementation date.
With the new rules for accelerated tenure (two years of “Excellent” evaluation ratings), it is unclear why the legislature maintained the “portable” tenure process which also requires two years of “Excellent” ratings plus information from the teachers’ prior district. The “portable” tenure provision appears largely negated by the more simplified process of two years of “Excellent” ratings.
For teachers hired post PERA implementation but prior to July 1, 2023, the “old” rules still apply with one notable exception. Public Act 103-0500 modified the requirements for accelerated tenure after three years for these teachers. The old rule required a teacher to complete three years of service with “Excellent” ratings each year. The new law states that a teacher who completes three years of service with two overall evaluations of “Excellent” is entitled to tenure. The statutory language does not specify that the ratings must be in consecutive years. This means that a teacher who completed their third year with a district in 2022-2023 and who received at least two overall evaluation ratings of “Excellent” during those three years is now tenured starting in the 2023-2024 school year. Districts should carefully review any teachers who just completed three years of service to verify their tenure status in light of this retroactive change.
Finally, Public Act 103-500 modifies the time period for delivering notice of non-reemployment to a probationary teacher. Probationary teachers must now be provided written notice delivered by certified mail, return receipt requested on or before April 15. As a reminder, we always advise that it is delivery of the notice to the teacher that must occur prior to the April 15 deadline. Therefore, the Board should take action before that deadline to ensure timely receipt of the notice.